Diversity, Ethnicity, Madness and Fiction
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In creating a single chapter on diversity issues in post-1945 literature, we face a number of basic difficulties. There is little consensus on what terms such as ‘diversity’ and ‘ethnicity’ mean. From the point of view of scholars in the health care disciplines who address the practical manifestations of ‘madness’, these generic terms can have a deliberately wide and inclusive frame of reference. In the inaugural issue of Diversity in Health and Social Care, McGee and Johnson write that they’adopt a very broad view of the concept of “diversity”. We see it as embracing all aspects of difference, including, for example, culture, belief, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, as well as underserved and marginalized populations’ (2004, p. 1). In the latter part of the twentieth century the racial categories promulgated by eugenicists and physical anthropologists fell into disrepute and were increasingly replaced by a more psychosocially nuanced, and often self-defined, notion of ‘ethnicity’. As sociologist Stuart Hall puts it, the term ethnicity ‘acknowledges the place of history, language and culture in the construction of subjectivity and identity, as well as the fact that all discourse is placed, positioned, situated, and all knowledge is contextual’ (1992, p. 257). As Fernando adds: ‘In practical shorthand, ethnicity is taken to mean a mixture of cultural background and racial designation’ (2005, p. 421).
KeywordsMental Health Care Female Genital Mutilation African Woman Mountain Lion Literary Establishment
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